I don't have a photo of the finished product because we ate it all up so fast that I didn't get a chance to snap a pic. [Well, actually, to be honest, I just didn't plan ahead very well. Maybe I'll get a photo next time I make this and insert it later.]
adapted from Ina Garten's recipe found here
Note -- I have adjusted the amounts from Ina's original recipe because the first couple of times I made this it was too saucy for our taste. This recipe as I've written it here will make 3-4 servings as a side dish.
- pinch of salt
- 2 T butter, divided
- 1 1/2 T flour
- 1 c hot milk (heat in microwave for a minute)
- 1/2 t salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper (freshly ground is good)
- 1/8 ground nutmeg
- 1/2 c grated hard tangy cheese... I used some Jarlsberg that I had leftover from another recipe and it was yum. Swiss would probably work. I imagine a sharp white cheddar would be nice too. Original recipe calls for Gruyere... I don't think I've ever bought that in my life. :-)
- 1/4 c + 1 T grated Parmesan
- 1/4 c bread crumbs -- Panko are best if you have 'em!
Cut up the cauliflower into large florets. Bring a pot of salted water to boil and add cauliflower -- cook for 5 mins or so, until the florets are tender but still firm -- don't overcook. Drain.
Meanwhile, melt 1 T butter in a medium saucepan over low heat. (Heat the milk now.) Add the flour, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon (if you have one) for a 2 minutes. Add the hot milk slowly to the butter/flour mixture and whisk together until it comes to a boil. Boil and whisk constantly for 1 minute, until the mixture thickens slightly. Remove from heat and add the 1/2 tsp salt, black pepper, nutmeg, the 1/2 c grated cheese, and 1/4 c grated Parmesan. Stir until the sauce is smooth. (Resist sticking a spoon in and eating it all up.)
Pour 1/2 of the sauce on the bottom of an 8" square or round baking dish (I used a glass quiche dish). Place the drained cauliflower on top and then spread the remaining 1/2 of the sauce over the top of the cauliflower. Combine the bread crumbs with the 1 T grated Parmesan and sprinkle over the top. Melt the remaining 1 T butter (in the microwave) and drizzle over the gratin. Bake for 20 minutes or so until heated through and the top is lightly browned -- you could move the dish up to the top rack and turn on the broiler for a minute or so if you think the gratin has cooked long enough and just needs browning.
The Panko bread crumbs really added a lovely crunch -- I think they are superior in this dish to regular bread crumbs. Just sayin'.
Please make and enjoy this IMMEDIATELY. You will never look at cauliflower the same again.